SEC’s Greg Sankey: Grayshirting Not Appropriate

 In a very well written article by Tim Twentyman, the SEC's Associate Commissioner, Greg Sankey admits the practice of grayshirting by some of his member schools is not appropriate.  Our position all along has been that for a coach to go out and offer a ton of kids and tell them all that they might have to grayshirt depending on how things work out on signing day is fraudulent, at best.  It is nothing more than a tactic to string kids along and keep them away from competing schools and offers no guarantee of a scholarship; there is a reason why the NLI's Susan Peal doesn't support grayshirting.

The SEC's Sankey admits that the practice of grayshirting by some of his member schools is "not appropriate" and says the SEC is considering adopting stricter measures on how recruits are counted.

"This year, we saw a couple circumstances where there was really late notice to student-athletes about programs' desire for them to defer enrollment," Sankey said. "Those circumstances are not appropriate. We don't want to see that type of thing happen.

"Part of the discussion is, 'Is there a way to manage grayshirting that should be out in front of folks?' In a similar way, should we be managing early-enrollment issues in a different way? All of those things mix into this discussion and that's why it takes some time to do some analysis to figure out some reasonable solution for our conference. We've been after this issue since the fall and we have an annual meeting in late May and early June, and I'd expect some potential solutions would be considered."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110406/SPORTS0203/104060302/Big-Ten--Oversigning-gives-some-schools-‘competitive-advantage’#ixzz1IkROTHrA

The article also includes quotes from several coaches, other conference officials, and recruited players who admit they had no idea what oversigning was until someone told them about it.

Madison Heights Madison defensive back Valdez Showers, who signed with Florida in February, said he never once thought about oversigning during his recruitment. He didn't even know such a thing was allowed.

"All I looked at was how many people they signed at my position," he said. "I never really thought about oversigning and I can tell you by experience that recruits aren't really looking at that, either."

Showers did say he was going to make sure future recruits at his high school are aware of the practice and ask the right questions during their recruitment — especially when dealing with some SEC schools.

"I think (oversigning) is real immature and unprofessional by a coach," Showers said. "Why would he recruit this many guys knowing that he's going to mess up another kid's chance of getting another scholarship from another school? I think recruits should start looking at that now."

Saginaw's DeAnthony Arnett, who'll also play in the SEC next season for Tennessee, said he didn't have to worry about having a spot on the team, due to his stature in the recruiting rankings. He is ranked the No. 8 receiver in the country by Scout.com and the No. 12 receiver by Rivals.com. But he said he could empathize with those players that find out too late to do anything about the fact that they are no longer wanted on campus in the fall.

"Some schools like oversigning kids and then giving them grayshirts or telling them to leave, which is wrong," he said. "Whatever your maximum is, that's how many you should be able to sign and not go over that."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110406/SPORTS0203/104060302/Big-Ten--Oversigning-gives-some-schools-‘competitive-advantage’#ixzz1IkSi2svm

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio says that they have never had to tell a kid that he doesn't have a scholarship; he also believes in Jim Tressel's method of giving open scholarships after the spring and summer natural attrition to deserving walk-on players who have earned a scholarship reward.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio told The Detroit News that he's never had to tell one of his players that his scholarship no longer exists, and can't imaging having to do so. But Dantonio added that he has to protect his program, which can be accomplished with moderate oversigning.

"My feeling is that as a program, you sign what you think you're going to have, and then there are always opportunities for a non-scholarship player — who's really played himself into a position to play — award him a scholarship, which we've been able to do every single year," Dantonio said.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110406/SPORTS0203/104060302/Big-Ten--Oversigning-gives-some-schools-‘competitive-advantage’#ixzz1Ika2GM6R

To be clear, when reading these articles and talking about oversigning, you have to remember that there are two kinds of oversigning: signing more than 85 and signing more than 25.  In many cases, like the quote above by Dantonio, coaches are referring to oversigning the 25 not the 85.  For example, if a school has 57 returning players on scholarship, they can take on 28 to get to 85, however, 28 is over the 25 limit for a given year.  What happens is that 3 of the 28 enroll early and count towards the previous year, then the remaining 25 enroll in the current year and count towards the current class.  Therefore, despite going over the 25 limit, the school did not go over the 85 limit.  This is what the Big 10 rule of going over by 3 is really there for; not so much to enable schools to abusively go over the 85 limit every year, which in talking to Chad Hawley simply doesn't happen.  Our issue has always been going over the 85 because when that happens cuts have to be made; you can go over the 25 and not have to cut anyone as long as there is room in the previous class and guys enroll early.

We encourage you to read the rest of the article and discuss in the comments section.  It's amazing that kids today, despite all of the talk in the media and everyone on the Internet, do not know what oversigning is or that it is allowed.  Marc's proposal for Truth in Recruiting would definitely eliminate this problem.

Updated: Added quote from Mark Dantonio and commentary on the Big 10 rule for oversigning.

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  1. To a certain degree I agree with what is being said…. I would love to see grayshirt offers removed from current year NLI’s so the recuits know what they are being offered. They know that offer A is for a grayshirt and offer B is for a current year NLI… that way they can decide what they want to do.

    If you limit the current year NLI’s to what a team has coming open and require any other offers to be a seperate Greyshirt form… I think you could take care of a lot of the misleading recruiting… along with Marc’s TIR forms, it would make some great information for the recruits and parents to have in hand.

  2. Our issue has always been going over the 85 because when that happens cuts have to be made; you can go over the 25 and not have to cut anyone as long as there is room in the previous class and guys enroll early.

    That is not true… you can oversign the 85 without ever need to cut a single player… the player is enrolled under the next class signing as a greyshirt. The only time you’d need to “cut” a player is if you wished to NOT greyshirt a player and wanted them in the current class NLI.

    I am for the former and against the latter… there is a difference.

  3. I would make a suggestion Joshua. We both know that The SEC is the premier party responsible for oversigning. The numbers prove that. There are other confrences that are guilty of the act just to a slightly lesser degree. Spread the word with out pointing the finger. Pointing the finger at a conference as a whole is only going to enrage certain readers. You have done well with documneting which teams are in favor of and against oversigning. I would keep it on a team basis and bring up the confrence when discussing the actions that its leaders plan on taking or when it is conference specific. No one wants to be the dart board. I am sure that these SEC bloggers are feeling the presure as much as the Ohio State fans are feeling it for whats going on in our front. It does irritate me that everytime anyone brings up the issue on oversigning, some SEC fan wants to turn around and deflect the conversation onto Ohio State because it’s the freshest topic of date. Again, in a prepared piece you have angled a statement against the team known as “the SEC” and used Mark Dantonio and Jim Tressel as a fine example against oversigning. What you are saying is the truth in regards to this very subject. You know as well as I do, that if you use anyone as an example for one thing that others will expect him to be Jesus. They will tear down this person as an example to strengthen their argument, even when what they are pointing out the faults that nothing to do with the subject matter. I guess I am saying that by using Tressel to strengthen one stance, you make him the dart board for the next. Then again, the angry words from folks on this site are just words from people I will likely never meet in the real world so screw them.?! /shrugs

    • slightly true. Joshua had held Tressel and the Big 10 up as the example that every university should strive for, and his comments seemed to imply as more than just signing issues. He would talk about how moral Tressel was, how much integrity he had. Now that he has been caught red handed, lying and hiding information about the Tat5, he doesnt do that anymore. No one expects Tressel to be a saint, but we also didnt put him up on a pedestal like Joshua did.

      He has now been coaching his responses about Tressel in his actions regarding oversigning, which sounds commendable. It is his other actions that are not.

  4. Once again, your headline/lead is misleading.

    He doesn’t say that grayshirting is inappropriate – he says grayshirting without notice/warning is inappropriate:

    [quote]“This year, we saw a couple circumstances where there was really late notice to student-athletes about programs’ desire for them to defer enrollment,” Sankey said. “Those circumstances are not appropriate. We don’t want to see that type of thing happen.[/quote]

    It’s not a distinction without a difference; you’re painting (as usual) with a very broad brush and it hurts your more reasonable arguments about transparency and fairness to kids (which I do agree with). However, it does allow you to once again chest thump about the moral superiority of the Big 10.

    So, congratulations on that.

  5. In many cases, like the quote above by Dantonio, coaches are referring to oversigning the 25 not the 85

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought it was pretty clear that Dantonio was talking about oversigning the 85 limit. Why else would he be talking about opportunities for walk-ons to receive scholarships? Also, he had this to say in the article:

    “I think there is a natural attrition that takes place in every program, so you have to take that into consideration, whether that’s injured guys (medical exemptions) or someone who’s not doing well academically, or somebody who is leaving the program. So there is a little bit of guesswork involved with that.”

    Michigan State is listed as being oversigned by 4 according to your cup standings…that’s 4 over the 85 limit not the 25 limit.

  6. Nothing groundbreaking, but here is a link concerning grayshirting by a guy who is apparently some sort of long snapping instructor:

    I have had a couple of my kids (kids = my Long Snappers) do this and it does work…..with the right person. One of the more notable ones is Christian Yount of UCLA/Pro. He decided to grayshirt, instead of take the normal route, because UCLA really, really wanted him (well done) and he wanted to go there (as he should). It worked for both parties.

  7. “This year, we saw a couple circumstances where there was really late notice to student-athletes about programs’ desire for them to defer enrollment,” Sankey said. “Those circumstances are not appropriate. We don’t want to see that type of thing happen.

    I wish Sankey had been a little more specific. It’s possible that he’s talking about an Elliot Porter situation (which was described in the article just before Sankey’s interview). It’s also possible that he’s talking about Mauldin and Montgomery at South Carolina. I tend to believe that this is what he was talking about since he prefaced the comment with “this year”. At any rate, there’s certainly nothing that would indicate that Sankey was condemning the practice of offering a scholarship with the possibility of grayshirting.

  8. It’s also worth noting that according to the numbers shown at the bottom of the article, Alabama signed 229 recruits from ’02-’10. Josh has 235 for the same time period. They both cite Rivals.com as their source.

  9. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6298161

    Remember the context: a strength coach yelling at players, “We’ll find out who wants to be here,” 2 weeks before Signing Day, during workouts which put 13 players into the hospital. The head coach initially remained on the recruiting trail rather than retreating to Iowa City to be with his players.

    The pressure to win squeezes players just as hard in the Big 10 as it does the SEC. Just in different ways. Arguing the relative morality of Lorenzo Mauldin versus Willie Lowe seems kind of silly to me. Both deserved much better.

    • You are simply deflecting the issue.

      Im sorry, but you are comparing apples to oranges. “These teams in the big10 have made some mistakes, so that makes up for the oversigning issues seen in the SEC” is flat out wrong.

      “the pressure to win squeezes players just as hard in the Big 10 as it does the SEC. Just in different ways. ”

      Are you seriously trying to imply that the big 10 condones overconditioning and Rhabdo? Thats honestly very offensive. I do not know why you are so biased against the big 10.

      Maybe the issue isn’t that joshua is prejudiced against the SEC, its that you are biased against the big 10.

      • I disagree. Joshua wants every conference to adopt the Big 10 signing model, but he displays a disturbing inability to cast a critical or even a reflective eye on anything wrong in the Big 10 that might be connected to its signing policy. The Big-10 Rule looks like a shell game to me – marginally more effective at limiting the number of players who enter the door but utterly useless as a protective device once the kids enroll.

        Illegal practices. Kids in the hospital. Coaches breaking NCAA Rule #1 to keep starts eligible. How is the Big 10 rule preventing the abuse of kids or fostering a more collegiate sports culture? I just don’t see it.

        I have no bias against or for the Big 10 or the SEC. Of course the Big 10 does not condone rhabdo. Nor does it condone illegal practices. But those things do not happen in a vacuum. The problems debated here are rather self-evident, but the solution needs some work.

        Make the scholarship/aid package renewal solely contingent to academic progress and honor code. Until you do that, the kids remain at the complete mercy of the coaches no matter which conference they elect to play in.

        • Lets take your arguments.
          Joshua does not want every conference to adopt the big 10 model. He just wants to stop colleges from oversigning. Difference there.

          Please enlighten on what is wrong with the Big 10 that is connected to its signing policy. I seriously do not think you can name everything here.

          OK- it looks like a shell game to you. Oversigning is not the same as roster management, cutting kids. There is a difference.

          You’re basically saying “oversigning doesn’t fix the rhabdo, it doesn’t fix cutting kids before the signing day” so its worthless. Fixing oversigning will not fix everything sleezy in college football. YEs, its not a magic bullet, but i’d like to hear a rational argument for how it HURTS/is detrimental to students.

          • actually, Joshua has said many times that other conferences should adopt the Big 10 model.

            And oversigning is in a sense a roster shell game. making sure you have enough spots for the people you bring in.

            and i notice that ITM had a suggestion as to how to possibly fix things. You just want to criticize his view without offering a suggestion for fixing it.

            • No, he has said the B1G model is an example of how to fix everything. He is not demanding that every other conference adopt the B1G model, but rather pointed to it as a way that is fair.

              A roster shell game? fixing oversigning does make sure you have enough spots for the people you bring in. If you are a business and go out and bid projects, but then later on you renig on your bid, thats pretty unethical. Usually you wont get repeat business if you say “oh, i overbid these other projects so your project will have to wait” I can’t see how you would claim thats a bad thing.

              My suggestion is that other conferences adopt the B1G model. I have no problem with that. I am criticizing his view that the B1G model somehow hurts kids, or doesn’t solve the oversigning issue.

              • In fact, Josh has asked on several occasions why the SEC doesn’t adopt the B10 rules. He has held tham up as the solution for some time.

                Usually you wont get repeat business if you say “oh, i overbid these other projects so your project will have to wait”

                Oh, here I agree. If a coach oversigns without agreeing with potential grayshirts what is likely to be asked of them, he is playing with fire and could well end up asking a guy to grayshirt after the fact or forcing another guy off the team – both of which I would agree are wrong. If, however, the coach and recruit agree to the grayshirt before he signs, then there is no issue. The player gets to play for the team of his choice when he would otherwise not be afforded that option. That’s a good thing to me.

                What most people describe as the main issue with oversigning is when a player on the team is forced off to make room for the oversigned players. The B10 rule does not fix this – as undesired players can be removed earlier in the year, or even in the summer to free a spot for next year.

              • I didn’t say the Big 10 model hurts kids. I said it doesn’t protect them very well. I proposed a more stringent solution. You can reply that it’s impractical or that’s it’s a bridge too far relative to the specific problem of oversigning, but instead you attack the premise that the Big 10 has warts. As a result, you seem more interested in protecting the Big 10 than the players, a common malady here.

                Your analogy doesn’t work. I helped run a very successful company that bid more projects than our capacity, based on the simple reality that we would not win all our bids. We were very clear that we were first come, first serve. If we had to rebid based on a shift in scheduling because we signed contracts, we let everyone in the process know. We did quite well, which is why I retired quite early.

                To the extent your analogy does work, no one had to pass rules to regulate unscrupulous bidders in our industry. Their reputation did precede them.

                Finally, we had a simple annual ritual where we gently severed relationships with our most abusive clients – the ones who always complained and who always found an excuse to delay payment. They ran to our competition, and within the year they were ripping our competitors at every opportunity. We were better off without them, especially our customer service representatives.

                • I’m not attacking the premise that the B1G has worts, im merely pointing out that oversigning is not designed to fix them all. Ironically, you seem to be attacking the B1G policy as not being any help, which is patently false. the B1G’s policy prevents a lot of coach mismanagement/screwing over players.

                  I’m curious as to what company/business would allow this model. It is definately not the norm, and anyone will tell you even if that strategy does exist, it is a very rare occurrence.

                  • Um, just about everyone. Airlines. Broadcasters. Construction. Name one that doesn’t.

                    No one ever wins every bid. Competitors get some. Some bids cancel at the last minute because the potential customer rethinks the project. Some customers cancel even after they sign contracts because their budgets get cut, which puts operators in the position of taking them to court or just accepting that they suddenly have a huge hole in the schedule – a hole which can be the difference between a nice end-of-year bonus for the staff or none at all.

                    Pretending that this sort of variability does not exist represents bad business. Dealing with it professionally and honestly becomes the essence of good business. I am not extending this to a comparison to college football. I’m pointing out that such a comparison ignores some fundamental differences.

                  • “the B1G’s policy prevents a lot of coach mismanagement/screwing over players.”

                    No, it doesn’t. You focus your gaze so intently on the SEC that you ignore similar abuses in the Big 10. Iowa loses 4 out of every 10 players it signs prior to graduation. Does it sign fewer? Sure. But once you start comparing the number of kids who hit campus and actually graduate, the differences disappear.

                    Hence – shell game.

                    And once again, I did not say the Big 10 Rule would be no benefit. I said it would be of little benefit.

                    If a university were on the hook for 4 to 5 years of education for every kid they sign, and every kid counted towards APR, then the abuses of oversigning would end overnight. So would a lot of others.

                    If a coach wants to cut a kid from the roster to free a spot in the 85 cap, fine. The university remains on the hook for his education, and his graduation status continues to affect APR. A kid cut from the roster can transfer anywhere he wants with no restrictions, which puts him completely in charge of his own destiny. He can stay or go. He has total freedom both ways.

                    If a coach burns through too many kids, he begins to seriously strain the department’s resources. All the accountability factors become internal, which is the only place they will ever be effective.

                    And removing the coach’s ability to threaten the scholarship fundamentally alters the very dynamic that enables almost all of the abuses this site and the two new sites like to complain about.

                    We can advocate minor rules of minor benefit for each individual problem. OR – we can go the source. of most of them in one fell swoop.

                    I find it amusing that my desire to go further irritates so many people who claim to have only the players interests in mind.

          • Fixing oversigning would be a great thing, banning it would be bad. There are several benefits to the students from oversigning, the most prominant of which is the increased opportunity it presents. There is no denying that teams like Alabama sign more LOIs – though many of the excess are double counted and JuCo bound. When a team oversigns, they are able to maximize the incoming students on scholarship – they aren’t left holding a few when commitments change their minds late in the game. When players transfer over the summer, they can bring in some of the grayshirt offers to fill the holes – yes that helps the team as well, but this also helps more kids play for the schools they want to.
            Another benefit to grayshirting (at the heart of oversigning) is for injured players coming out of highschool. If a kid receives a serious injury his senior year, he may need a full year of recovery before he can fully practice or even start getting back into shape. Yes, a redshirt can help with this, but most kids use the redshirt to learn the system and acclimate to college life. Kids with serious injuries start out behind, but with a grayshirt offer they delay enrollment until spring and are with the next class, giving them an extra 6 months of recovery.
            Another good thing from grayshirts is that it can put another year between a player and an established starter at his position. JP Wilson is a good example from Alabama. He was a 3-year starter for the Tide who delayed because Brodie Croyle was the QB and he used the extra time to gain some weight and an extra year. Worked out pretty well for him.

            • it does not present more opportunity except for the team who is doing it. If oversigning is banned, kid A who would have been oversigned by Alabama will now just go to another school. Maybe he gets and offer from Kentucky or maybe Utah or Boise Or Cal but he will have an offer.

              • Possibly, but when he takes a spot at Kentucy, there’s one guy that didn’t get an offer from the Wildcats because of it, so he has to go somewhere else. Follow that down the trail and eventually you find a kid that doesn’t get another offer. Anyway, that’s not my point. The point is that by banning oversigning, you are restricting the opportunity at Alabama. If a kid wants to go to Bama, and Bama wants him (enough that they would use a scholarship on him), why should you say he has to go somewhere else? If a recruit can work out an agreeable deal to go to the school he prefers, why is it wrong?

                And yes, it is more opportunity. If Bama is able to accept 20 more LOIs than some schools, is that not more opportunity? Not all opportunity is taken advantage of, and some of it is delayed for a few months, but every LOI represents an offer to attend UA under scholarship – an opportunity.

                • Regardless of how many Bama or anybody else signs, they can only have 85 on scholarship. If they had 85 the year before, they can only sign to replace.

                  The issue is who are they replacing. Currently, some schools oversign in anticipation of transfers, medical waivers, nonqualifiers and academic dropouts. It an unrealistic expectation that all are known prior to signing day, though some probably are.

                  When these schools consistently sign the maximum allowed by their conference, regardless of the number of know open scholarships they have, reasonable people should question how they happen to always hit the number on the head come the time they need to. It isn’t plausable that the number they hit is exactly the one they get to without pressing the boundaries of the moral debate that has been discussed on this site.

                  Today, grayshirting is the last resort to some of these schools to hit the number. While these kids might have been told it is a possibility, there are too many ways to phrase that statement to give it much weight. Most recruits that have spoken on the issue don’t give it much weight at all.

                  That kid that didn’t get the offer from Kentucky might end up accepting the offer to South Alabama which is the same place the kid that got run off from Bama ends up at. Circle of life example.

                  • The issue is who are they replacing. Currently, some schools oversign in anticipation of transfers, medical waivers, nonqualifiers and academic dropouts. It an unrealistic expectation that all are known prior to signing day, though some probably are.

                    You are dead on, it is about who they are replacing. Are they simply oversigning as insurance against natural attrition, or are they actively kicking kids off the team to make room for new guys? Good question. Also, a coach does not need to know exactly how many will leave to prepare for it. If a team loses an average of 8 players every year, why not oversign by 10, tell two of them they have a grayshirt offer only, tell 3 or 4 that it is a very likely possibility, and the other 5 that it is an outside chance but that none of them should accept unless they are willing to delay if needed. Then update them all throughout the summer as to where they stand. Or the NCAA could make the grayshirt a seperate LOI as we have discussed here often – that solves this whole thing. But back to who they are replacing, if a coach is actively trimming the roster, then oversigning teams would average much higher losses than teams that don’t oversign would you not agree?

                    As it turns out, I’ve been studying this exact thing. I’ve given the info to Josh and he has said he will post it in the near future. The data is from the 2008 recruiting class only and only from a few select teams that get discussed here often, but so far the team with the worst attrition is not from the SEC and the team with the best is not from the B10.

                    • If by “update them over the summer” you are referring to after they have signed an LOI, I don’t like it one bit. The various degrees of “you might conceivable maybe sorta have to grayshirt, wink wink, doesn’t cut it. The kid has signed his LOI and is at the mercy of the school.

                      Black and white. If a kid loves the school and wants to wait, good for him. If he wants to pursue other options, black and white makes his options much clearer.

                    • No, what I described is that the recruit should know well before signing day that he is a grayshirt/grayshirt possiblity. By updating them, I think a good coach would call them and say, “Two of the guys looking at transferring have made it official. We have upgraded a couple of other guys to this class, but you are the next we want to bring up. There are still a couple of guys contemplating transfers, and when/if they decide to leave, we’ll let you know”. I don’t know if anybody (including Saban) do it this way, but if I were to run a program, that’s how I would do it. I’m sure it can be done differently.

    • and now a write up from a more informative source than the “stir the pot” ESPN.

      “Everyone listening to this story from the outside in, it sounds like a big deal, 13 players in the hospital from a serious workout, it seems like the strength coach is trying to kill the players,” Prater said. “It wasn’t anything like that.” –Shaun Prater


  10. I want to know the official http://www.oversigning.com position on these issues:

    1) Oversigning by any amount is unethical always. Agree or disagree?

    2) Grayshirting is always unethical. Agree or disagree?

    3) Sign and place is always unethical. Agree or disagree?

    If you disagree with any of these, I want to know why, and I want to know what circumstances are considered reasonable and ethical. If you agree, I want to know why it is unethical.

    I believe that it is important to nail down the official position… If one cannot concretely say what is wrong about a practice and provide a concrete defense of that belief, then I don’t know what we’re arguing over.

    Apart from the official http://www.oversigning.com position, I am also a little bit curious to hear how others would respond.

    • sign and place isnt unethical as they are not eligible and no longer tied to the school. They are free to go somewhere else if they want. It has happened with kids who go to prep schools as well as JUCO’s. Do some schools send more kids to a certain 4 year school? maybe. But if you really look at the numbers, schools arent getting all the players that go the JUCO route, as many of them end up not completing eligibility to move to a major school.

      • that is true but when you know he is not going to qualify but you sign him anyways then place him in a friendly JuCo to keep him away from another team. The team does this to keep him away from another team and also to have another crack at him in 2 years, if they want him. By the “if they want him” comment I mean if he is developed enough to where they want to take him.

        • how does that “keep” him away from another team? A JUCO gets players from all over. And if they make it known that they mostly deal with just one school, they wont get a lot of athletes that might not want to go to that school. you could say the same about any HS that sends players to a certain college. Are players there “kept” away from other colleges?

          • you could say that…. but, why would a school want a kid who wont qualify out of HS anyways? The difference is…. in a JuCo, if they dont finish their 2 years then they wont be able to go Div I. Also, a team has another 2 years to evaluate this recruit and see if the team will even offer a recruit even after the team offered them out of HS and placed them in a favorable JuCo. Its just another evaluation process for the coach who oversigned them. Come on Tre?

            • It isnt that they want a kid who wont qualify, it is that they want a kid who is immensely talented, but has a chance to not qualify. And again, once a kid steps on campus at a JUCO, they are in essence a free agent again for college programs. Yeah, the original team can evaluate the recruit, but so can every other school. I still dont see your premise of “keeping him away from another school” as any school can recruit that player.

              still dont know what you are “come on”‘ing about

              • JUCO’s and preps use big schools to recruit for them. They aren’t going to upset a schools staff that recruits for them by not doing everything in their power to keep the kid in line and ready to go back to the school that sent them.

                Technically, they are free agents. Reality, they face immense pressure to stay with the school that placed them.

  11. Can’t speak for the site, but here is my opinion.

    1. Disagree slightly due to deferred enrollment. I would say if both the incoming student and university agree to the stipulation WELL in hand before signing, and it is a documented process (this is key, it prevents fraud/abuse on behalf of the school), it is ok, but should be used sparingly. Oversigning by 1 is much different than oversigning by 10-20

    2. See 1. Once again, to be used sparingly. However, saying “you might have the possibility of having to greyshirt” is morally unethical. How is “may have a possibility” not just mean “tryouts/other kids might accept before you, so we’re gonna defer you” morally acceptable?

    3. Agree. You are purposely signing kids you know will not make it in order to put them in your own little farm school, thus giving him a “quid pro quo” informal obligation to you, which is non-binding but still powerful. Also gives boosters more freedom to commit illegal activities

  12. Josh, you do a disservice to the cause when you over dramatize. The statement made was not the headline.

    Fair and reasonable debate on the following is less likely because you grasped for a headline

    Should it even be allowed and under what conditions is it appropriate
    when is the appropriate time to tell a recruit he will grayshirt
    how public should the conversation, or the fact that it happened be
    what level of documentation by the school is required, if any?

    These activities occur in every conference to greater or lesser degrees.

    • Good points and good questions

      • when you get on Rivals or Scout and you see Alabama hasnt offered a kid, he hasnt committed to them, but specifically says he is offered a grayshirt that would be a start but Alabama doesnt do it that way. They offer a scholarship to a kid, the kid commits and when the commitments come rolling in they have an oversigned roster. With 10+ oversigned recruits you know Saban will not give all these kids a grayshirt so he starts purging the roster until the Aug 1st deadline until he is at exactly 85 plus 1 grayshirt. Very ironic if you ask me and that is what the problem is.

        • Dont’ limit this to Bama. Any school in the BCS does it the same way. Sure there are examples of kids being told they were offered a grayshirt early in the process; the long snapper at UCLA, a DE at PSU. Typically they are because the kid is younger than his recruited peers or has an injury that needs rehab. These are exceptions. NOBODY offers a kid a grayshirt while the option for him to go elsewhere exists. NOBODY.

          • actually, it does happen, but it is usually because a kid REALLY wants to go to a specific school, and is willing to greyshirt a year. i would agree the the most benefit would be for someone that is younger or hurt, but it does happen when they do have offers from other schools.

            • I am not limiting it to Alabama in no way, no how. I am simply using them as an example. If it is not communicated, offered far ahead then it doesnt matter. Whether it be Penn St. or Nebraska…IT IS WRONG. If Nebraska did the same I would be pissed. Its all in the communication and the timing.

        • So Red, how much higher would you expect Bama’s attrition to be than schools that don’t oversign, like OSU, Florida, and Georgia? If Saban is forcing kids off at a high rate to make room for his oversigned classes you should expect the loss percentages to be drastically higher than teams that don’t, right? So just for fun, how much higher do you think it is?

          • There is a high attrition in college athletics as it is, the difference is Florida, Georgia and OSU are not oversigned at the time of attrition. For example, Wyoming if they are oversigned by 10, need to “get rid, free up spots” on their roster, if they seem to make their mark by Aug 1st then they will there will be cause for anyone to scrutinizer the coach and the program. It doesnt matter what program, it matters who is oversigned.

            • So the number of kids “retained” matters less than the numbers signed?!

              Here’s what I just heard you say. Correct me if I’m wrong:

              A coach who doesn’t “oversign” but loses 40% of his kids is “more ethical” than a coach who loses 20% of his kids but does “oversign.”

              So which is better for the kid — getting pushed out over the Holiday Break between semesters or being told in December that he needs to start looking for a new program by the end of the coming semester in May?

            • But what you are accusing Alabama of is forced attrition instead of preparing for natural attrition. If this is true, would you not expect their losses to be much higher than teams that don’t force kids off the roster? It would have to be unless the non-oversigned teams were either all stricken with a rash of bad luck or purging their rosters outside of being oversigned. So what is your guess? If Bama cuts 8-10 guys every year, that’s 10% or so right there.

              • Actually I didn’t do that correctly, 8-10 players is ~10% of the total roster. If you lose that many every year, then you will lose that many out of each class after 4-5 years. Thus a loss of 8-10 guys from one class is more like 25-30%. Do you really think Bama loses 30% more players than OSU?

  13. Here you go Josh:
    This is an (old) example of how not to grayshirt – this is what Sankey is referring to:

    his mother said he had second thoughts after Nutt informed the incoming freshman that there wasn’t any room on the Rebels’ roster for him next season.

    This is refering to a kid who signed his letter of intent with Ole Miss and obviously didn’t know about the grayshirt. Nutt was wrong here and I don’t think you will find many people who will disagree. As we have also shown, many kids benefit from and will still use grayshirts when discussed before signing day. Let’s discuss ways to keep the grayshirt but punishes coaches when they do this type of thing.

    • You haven’t shown that kids benefit from greyshirts.

      You are vastly over-estimating the willingness students have to delay enrollment and go to a specific school, versus to play football somewhere else. Most kids would rather play and get to start somewhere on scholarship than have to wait half a year, miss class along with friends, before starting college

      • And I think you are vastly under-estimating the draw of a major program like Alabama. We’ve seen several quotes from Bama grayshirts who say that it was the plan all along, and we’ve never seen one from a guy saying otherwise. I don’t deny that some do it wrong – see the example I referenced above, but it can be done correctly as Bama seems to be doing. We should be looking to make changes so that it is done correctly, not banning it altogether.

        BTW, Wilson Love was injured his senior year and would have lost much of his freshman year to recovery time. He grayshirted (last year) and is now going through spring camp as a freshman and still has a redshirt available if he needs more time to develop or earn playing time. Did his grayshirt not benefit him?

        • This is where you show you true interests. You say having a greyshirt gives him extra time for football/more football playing time. No-where is it stated that he gains the benefit of being able to graduate from college. Why doesn’t the NCAA offer more time for redshirts? Why not have red-shirts be a 2-3 year deal? Its because GRADUATING from college is the focus of a university, not promoting football playing time for a player.

          There are such things as “medical redshirts” which address the problem of injuries. Greyshirts are not needed for it. Why not give him a medical redshirt. Honestly that is better, because he can then go to school and aim towards completing his college degree than to defer enrollment.

          Yes, alabama has a major draw. But do you honestly think that it is more than an Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Texas, Nebraska, ETC? You are naive if you think so. They all have strong appeal to their own cores. Many people from Ohio Dream of playing football for OSU. sadly, not all will get to.

          • The difference is that medical redshirts are given when the player can not participate due to the injury. If the injury occurs before he joins the team, and he recovers say at the start of the season, he could participate and I don’t think they would award it (the NCAA approves these). By grayshirting, the player is healthier when he starts. He can also be enrolled part time and not on scholarship. Many take this course of action.

            I agree, there are many teams that have a huge following and draw for recruits. Do you not find it sad when one of these teams has two or three guys leave over the summer, knowing that there are three guys who really wanted to go there, but instead are playing for their childhood team’s rival – or perhaps some team in the MAC instead? If that team had offered grayshirts, a few more kids could have played for their dream team. You may not like it, and you may prefer those extra spots go to walk-ons who have been able to pay their own way – I have no problem with that either – but you can’t deny that grayshirts open up more opportunities to more players.

            • Or he can just take a red-shirt. Equally valid case, is it not?

              Sad? Why not just increase the amount of scholarships? Trust me, there are a lot more than 85 given players who want to go to the alabamas and ohio states for college football. You’re taking issue with the 85 scholarship player rule. You should petition the NCAA to allow more than 85 scholarships. Remember, even if a person is not on scholarship, that doesn’t mean that he can’t go to the college, and maybe try in the tryouts to become a walk on. Isn’t that a better approach?

  14. As if Josh’s title for this blog entry isn’t misleading enough, Texas_Dawg one upped him on twitter by adding quotation marks:

    SEC associate commissioner, Greg Sankey: “Grayshirting is not appropriate.” http://bit.ly/hvR58e


    Would not any reasonable person read this and conclude that Greg Sankey said, “Grayshirting is not appropriate”? Of course the fact that Sankey never said that is of little consequence. The fact that people will believe that he said it is the only thing that matters.

  15. Grayshirting is inappropriate! If coach Miles says, you might grayshirt according to how many people we lose this spring…that is inappropriate. If coach Miles says, “we dont have room but we would really like you to play for us (in Dec or Feb) BUT you will have to defer your enrollment until next semester- (keep in mind we are not currently oversigned) then it is ok. Oversigned roster is enethical.

    • It’s not enough to simply say something is unethical or inappropriate over and over again. We’re all in agreement that it is wrong to lie or mislead recruits. In the case of Elliot Porter, it appears that he was lied or mislead, so we can all agree that in that case grayshirting was inappropriate. Now, if a player is told before signing that he may have to defer enrollment and still agrees to sign with that school, I do not view that as inapprpriate at all. If you feel that it is inappropriate please explain why.

      • I already said it is ok if it is communicated well before hand. If it is 3 days before signing day and all the sudden Miles or Saban tell a kid he will have to grayshirt that is wrong. That kid doesnt have much time to think about it or find another school because most schools will have their class filled by then. Its timing and truthfulness. If Miles mislead once, he has done it many times. If Saban has mislead once, he has done it many times.

  16. I have an update to your Sept, 27 blog entry on Arthur Ray (http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/tag/arthur-ray-jr/). Happily, it is being reported that he has commenced practicing with Michigan State following his long bout with cancer.

    It also turns out that up until recently, he had been medically disqualified so as not to count against the team’s scholarship limit: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6305779

    Just wondering if you will update your original blog entry on Ray since the entire premise was that Michigan State (read Big Ten), unlike Alabama (read Alabama), was willing to sacrifice a roster spot just to show how much they care about their student athletes. It’s a nice sentiment. It’s completely untrue, but still a nice sentiment.

  17. Good read on Tulsa’s use of greyshirts: http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/TU/article.aspx?subjectid=94&articleid=20110330_94_B5_CUTLIN330881&rss_lnk=94

    Note that the Tulsa coach said he doesn’t like to talk about which signees are expected to greyshirt because it could change. Just because the public isn’t kept informed, doesn’t mean the signees aren’t.

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